By Jeff Gilbert

AUBURN HILLS (WWJ) – The next generation Dodge Challenger will have a limited edition trim that puts out a Viper-like 600 plus horsepower.

“It is going to be, what I’m describing as the most extreme, real world, performance muscle car ever built,” said Dodge brand CEO Tim Kuniskis.

VIDEO:  Chrysler produced feature on 2015 SRT Challenger.

Dodge will have two 2015 Challengers that carry the SRT performance badge.   The more traditional version will come with a HEMI powered V-8, that puts out 485 horsepower.

But, for the few who want maximum power, Kuniskis says they’ll have a Challenger SRT, with Chrysler’s new “Hellcat” engine.  The final horsepower numbers aren’t out yet, but Kuniskis promises it will top 600 horsepower.

“You do a car like that to really send a message about who you are, what your brand stands for and where you want to go in the future.”

This is the first application of the “Hellcat” engine.  Kuniskis wouldn’t say if it would be in other Dodge products.

It’s a limited edition vehicle, but Chrysler couldn’t say how limited.

“We’ve never offered a supercharged HEMI before, but being a new offering for us, we are unsure of consumer demand,” said Kuniskis.  “As a result, we are not targeting nor constraining volumes at this point. We will gauge consumer demand at market launch.”

A Chrysler press release described some of the attributes of the two SRT Challengers:

  • New 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat features the all-new supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI® – the most powerful V-8 engine Chrysler Group LLC has ever produced
  • New Challenger SRT’s standard 392 HEMI V8 delivers 485 horsepower and 475 lb.-ft. of peak torque
  • Segment-first TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmissions available on both new Dodge Challenger SRT models
  • Dodge Challenger SRT with a Hellcat engine features new Pirelli tire technology with class-exclusive standard Y-Plus rated four-season tires to help handle extreme loads
  • Both 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT models ride on new, SRT-exclusive forged-aluminum wheels
  • New Dodge Challenger SRT with the HEMI Hellcat features the largest front-brake package ever offered in a Chrysler Group vehicle as standard equipment
  • All-new, driver-focused cockpit is designed for true performance enthusiasts with stunning style, premium materials, world-class craftsmanship and state-of-the-art technology
  • Functional, performance-designed exterior maintains Challenger’s original muscle car heritage and key Dodge brand hallmark

There will be an optional manual transmission.  But, Kuniskis says the new 8 speed automatic will actually be able to accelerate the vehicle faster.

“With an eight speed, and the speed of shifting that we have, the car will shift in 250 milliseconds with the paddle shifter,” he said. “It’s actually a faster car with the automatic.”

Dodge is being positioned as the performance brand of the company that will soon become Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.”  The SRT performance badge is being re-positioned to become a part of Dodge.

That means the Viper is returning to the Dodge lineup.  That gives Dodge two products with more than 600 horsepower.  But, Kuniskis doesn’t see them competing against each other.

“If you get in the Viper, and you get in this car, you couldn’t get any more different.”

Connect with Jeff Gilbert
Twitter: @jefferygilbert


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